Beauty · Fashion · Uncategorized

2019 Gift guide for girls.

My BFFs are some of my all time favourite people to shop for around the holiday season because they tend to be the easiest. I generally try to keep track of things they’ve mentioned to me in passing throughout the year so I can go pick them up or include them in my gift guide. Is that cheating? If it is, oh well because I think there are some really great gift ideas on this list for all styles/budgets!

Who doesn’t love and appreciate an oversized cozy scarf? Here in Canada, it gets cold and a cozy blanket scarf is the perfect accessory to keep you warm and looking good – especially if it has fringe! I have this one in black and grey from Free People and I love how soft they are! Don’t feel like you have to stick with solid colours either, a bold pattern is always appreciated!

scarf 2

I never really appreciated a sleep mask until I tried one last year. In m mind they were just for airplanes and people who wanted to be extra but OH . MY . GOSH. I love them now and they are flying off the shelves everywhere. I can’t urge you enough though, when shopping for a sleep mask – make sure you go with a high quality silk fabric. The silk is extremely delicate on your skin and it won’t pull your hair either. The Slip silk sleep mask would be my personal recommendation and the price point is worth it once you’ve tried it. I have talked about my love of silk pillowcases before and how beneficial they are to your sleep.

slip mask

Apparently my theme this holiday season is warm and cozy and great sleep! Lets stay with that and talk about the LANEIGE lip sleeping mask! These babies come in four different flavours and have won all types of awards in the beauty market. Any of your girls would love this and at this price point you should be picking one up for yourself too!

lip mask

Gold, silver and pearls. Let that soak in for a moment and feel all the mermaid vibes! These Madewell earring are the perfect mix of style and I can’t believe they are only $35.40!!

pearl earings

And last but not least, every girl needs a new pair of holiday pjs to lounge in! These are absolutely screaming my name this year but I’m trying to convince myself these would be worth owning for $95.00

What did I miss? Who are you shopping for this year and what ideas do you have so far?

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Food & Drink · Uncategorized

How to make the ultimate charcuterie board.

The holiday season is finally here!

For most of that means it’s the season for good friends and family, great wine and tons of delicious food!

I have come to find there are two types of people that host holiday gatherings. The first type are the ones who reach deep into the freezer for the same boxes of frozen appetizers year after year and pop them in the oven a half hour before their guests arrive. I love that group of people and I know when I go there, they’ll have those bomb mozzarella sticks they have every year that I look forward to expect! Although I love them, the second type are the ones I personally identify with. The perfectionists and over over achievers. The ones who wake up the day of at the crack of dawn and start zipping all over the kitchen to prepare everything on the carefully selected serving ware for the event that you know are going to match the carefully selected cocktail napkins they purchased months ago. Side note: you can confirm with Tyson – it’s best to leave these types of people alone while they are in the zone.

When we first deemed our house to the gathering spot for events I knew I needed to move from the frozen food people to the made with love people. I wanted our friends and family to leave our house with full stomachs and for them to talk about the party for weeks after.

One of the easiest ways to jump from the first category to the second is with a charcuterie board. I always always always do a few charcuterie boards when we have company. They’re full of so many bite sized goodies and you can mix them up each time with different flavours, textures and colours.

I will break down the essentials to a charcuterie board for you below but you don’t have to stick with this at all – go crazy and mix it up! I do find that I like to do a few different boards because I scatter them across the kitchen counter, kitchen table and into the living room – the three areas people tend to congregate in our house. I do mine on wooden platters / wooden cutting boards because I like the rustic look of them when they come together but you can use any platter you’d like really.

charcutie 1

Essentials for a charcuterie board:

You’ll want to incorporate a variety of crackers. These will of course compliment your cheeses but will also provide some much needed crunchy texture. I try and always have the following:

  • Bread sticks
  • Traditional style crackers (a mix of traditional, veggie, flax etc.) the more flavour, shapes and colours the better
  • Bagel chips
  • Toasted pita

Cheeses are an essential component to every charcuterie board. Be sure to offer a mixture of different tastes and textures. Don’t forget, you’ll need to set out cheese knives and toothpicks! For the hard cheeses I like to cube them up for easy eating but it’s not necessary)

  • A hard cheese (such as cheddar, marble, provolone and gouda)
  • A medium-hard cheese (such as swiss or jarslberg)
  • A semi-soft or soft cheese (such as havarti, brie or neufchatel)

charcuterie 2

Dried fruits as well as fresh fruits are great for a charcuterie board because they add a subtle sweetness and also lots of colours. Pick and choose a few, you don’t have to go over board here.

  • Dried mango – my personal favourite so I always like to serve it
  • Dried pears – these pair well with buttery cheeses like brie, triple cream, cheddars etc.
  • Dried apricots and cherries – these both go best with a tangy goats milk or sheep milk cheeses, blue cheeses or any funky aged cheese.
  • Dried peaches – these pair well with sheep and cows’ milk cheeses. Cheeses that have nutty undertones like in a jarlesburg swiss and esquirrou make a great option
  • When picking fresh fruit, it’s important to pick things that will hold up their appearance as the night goes on. I would recommend raspberries, grapes, and berries. Stay clear from choices like pineapple, kiwi and oranges.

Top off your board with a mixture of nuts, cured olives, mini pickles and either some humus or a spinach dip and you’re all set to entertain!

Do you have a signature dish or food item you whip together for gatherings? I’d love to hear about it!

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk · Uncategorized

9 Things to do right after you get engaged.

It’s December which to many of us mean, it’s engagement season!

In case you are new around here, Tyson and I get engaged this past January and are now well underway to planning our March 2020 wedding.

Getting engaged is super exciting and I can’t urge you enough to pause and let the moment soak in before you rush into any decisions. You’ve paused and are ready now? OK, so now I want to talk about what comes next! I’m guessing there are a few of you out there who might be in the same boat as me right now, or you’re women’s intuition is going off and you’re sensing an upcoming engagement, which is why I wanted to write a post all about what to do right after you get engaged. Some of it may seem a little like common sense, but some things have even taken me by surprise!

Whether your engagement is a few months or a year, I hope this post is helpful for any brides-to-be out there like myself. And if you have any other important tips on what to get done ASAP, please share in the comments!!

Celebrate!

I wanted to include taking a minute to celebrate because hello!! You just got engaged!! Trust me, I totally get how easy it is to dive in head first to wedding planning mode without even taking a minute to digest the fact that you’re getting married. But it’s totally worth it to slow down for a second and take it all in. Lucky for us, we were on vacation when we got engaged so that gave us a few days to spread the word before we arrived home to our friends waiting with bottles of champs!

Insure your ring and get it sized.

OK, so this is VERY important. I’ll be honest – I didn’t even really realize this was something you have to do, but you 100% should. Get it done right away too because if anything happens to your ring, you want it to be covered!

This is also a good time to get your ring sized if you need to (Tyson was adorable and crept into my closet to measure my rings before he proposed. However, he accidentally measured my thumb ring for my right hand which is much larger than my left handed ring finger. I needed to take mine in to be sized from a 6.5 to a 3.25. He was smart enough to bring temporary spacers for the ring on our vacation so I could wear it in the meantime). It sucks to be without your ring for a little bit, but you don’t want it falling off or be too tight! Some jewellers can do it day-of on the spot like mine did so call around!

Set a wedding budget.

This is one of those logistical things that isn’t very fun but has to be done. Think about the kind of wedding you want (big, small, local, destination, plated dinner vs buffet, etc.) and get an idea of what your budget will be. Do this ASAP so you can start booking vendors and thinking about all the fun details! I suggest starting an Excel file and adding every budgeted amount and every purchase so you can stay on track.

Nail down your most important vendors.

Speaking of vendors, you want to nail them down basically as soon as possible. This would include things like your venue, your photographer/videographer, your planner (if you’re having one), the florist, caterer, DJ or band, etc. These people book up months (sometimes years!) in advance so start doing your research right away and then book visits so you can make a decision sooner rather than later.

Pick your date.

You basically can’t do anything else until you have your date set in stone, so while you’re contacting all your top vendor choices, be sure to get a few available dates from each of them to help you narrow down what date works best overall. Take into consideration weather, if you want something inside or out, in-season vs. out of season prices, the type of vision you have and all that!

Share your plans with close friends and family.

As you start booking things, you’ll definitely want to keep your family and close friends in the loop. You don’t want to pick a date that doesn’t work for one of the most important people in your life but you also don’t want to be living on other people’s agendas, so keep this circle small-ish. If you want a big wedding, it might be best to do something more off-season so you know more people will be able to attend!

Choose your wedding party.

If you are having a quick engagement, choosing your wedding party is something to do right away! If you’re having a longer engagement it may not seem quite as important, and I would almost have to discourage you from making a quick decision on this. Friendships can change overnight and when you add a wedding into the mix, sometimes people change. Your girls are going to want to get to work planning showers and a bachelorette party for you so giving them as much time as possible is always helpful but make sure you think this through before hand. If you aren’t doing a party, you can obviously skip this!

Gather inspiration.

Now it’s time for all the really fun stuff! I’m neck-deep in wedding inspo right now and it’s been so dang exciting! Grab a big glass of wine and get over to Pinterest ASAP because you’ll be both fascinated and overwhelmed by all the different styles of weddings that are possible! So. Many. Choices.

Go dress shopping.

Ahhhh!! This can be the most exciting part but it can also take some time! I suggest starting this sooner than later once you have a clear idea of your venue and decor. You might be like me who falls in love after the first dress and you’ll know that’s the dress without trying on others. Or, you may go to every bridal stone in your town and try on everything! Even if you have a year-long engagement, I definitely wouldn’t wait too long to pick your dress!

Sometimes I still have to pinch myself that I’m engaged and all of this is happening so fast! Where are you at in your planning cycle? What do you have done and what do you have left to do? Any other March brides here or destination brides?

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.